‘Vagina Monologues’ returns to Backstage | SummitDaily.com

‘Vagina Monologues’ returns to Backstage

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

BRECKENRIDGE – It’s hard to believe that Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking work for theater, “The Vagina Monologues,” has been around now for 10 years.The series of monologues on sex, relationships and violence against women was written by Ensler after she conducted interviews with 200 women around the world. Through stories and poetry, the monologues express the power – and empowerment – of a woman’s vagina throughout the different phases of womanhood, encountering events both endearing and utterly traumatic.The reality as well as the beauty of the show has made it one of the most popular, most-performed pieces of American theater in the last 20 years, and garnered not only an OBIE Award for its author, but also countless productions internationally as well as a televised production on HBO.The show’s universal appeal has resonated locally as well. This weekend’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” by the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre marks the company’s third production of the show in the last three years, thanks to a record of solid sold-out performances, as well as theater patrons requesting the show’s return.”It’s got a following now,” said Backstage Theatre artistic director Christopher Willard, who is directing the show for the first time. “Over the years people have come to look forward to seeing the same characters.” Willard said that the success of “The Vagina Monologues” relies on the transforming power of the stories that are being told. “Everyone in the audience – as well as the cast onstage – can’t help but be moved by what they are hearing,” he said. “It’s more than just a collection of frank-talking monologues about vaginas. Its goal is to create a sense of community; to show that all women are linked by their biology and that these things transcend race, class and sexual identity.”

This year’s production offers some changes from previous years. In the past, the cast has presented the show as a staged reading, with scripts in their hands. This time around, Willard decided to present the show as fully-staged theater, with sets, movement, and a memorized script, freeing the cast to perform as real actresses.Three cast members – Murphy Funkhouser, Gwen Harris and Michelle Marzo, are returning from last year. New cast members for this production include Heidi Dickstein, Nikki Heffner and Lucy Westwood. “These actresses have been a joy to work with,” Willard said. “There are some pieces incredibly close to some of these women and they’re having to go deeper than they’ve ever gone before. It requires a special type of actress to do this and be open enough to embrace the material without being self-conscious.”And, as the stories unfold, the play transforms the audience into participants. “The entire evening becomes a healing event,” he said. “Tears get shed, but there’s also laughter.”And along with the tears and laughter, there’s also an underlying message to take home.”The major theme is freedom – which includes discovering the freedom in yourself,” said Willard.

Live theater- What: “The Vagina Monologues”- When: Thursday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m.- Where: Breckenridge Theatre, 121 South Ridge St. in Breckenridge- Tickets: Tickets are $20 for adults. Group rates are available. This performance contains mature content and adult language and is not recommended for children.

– Reservations: Call the box office at (970) 453-0199 or go online at http://www.backstagetheatre.org

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